Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Northern Nevada
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I'm not sure I agree about getting a road bike for the conditions you mentioned. Most of the roadies you'll find in your price range are likely to have what's become the standard gearing, something like 53-39 chainrings and a large cog (gear in the rear) of 26 or so. For a fat, lazy rider (I speak from experience here), that's too high for hills.
Weight is important, of course, but the difference between a heavy bike and a light one is only eight or 10 pounds. You're probably carrying more than that around your waist. A reasonably light mountain bike will give you a triple chainring and probably a larger cog in back, which will help more on climbs than the extra weight will hurt. Of course a road bike with triple rings would do the same, but they're hard to find.
You can also change the knobby tires on a mountain bike to skinnier, higher-pressure rubber, which will help a lot.